Remember how excited, worried, anxious, happy you were?
Remember how hard you thought it was to get up every two hours to feed your little one?
Or how you often forgot to bathe until people passed out when they got close too you?
Or how you had a love/hate relationships with the stretchy hospital underwear?
When our kids are young, we are often told that things will get easier as our kids get older.
Yes, you get more sleep. *Unless they crawl in bed with you and elbow you in the neck in the middle of the night.*
Yes, they can go to the bathroom and wipe their own butt by themselves. *Cue the Hallelujah chorus.*
Yes, they can get their own snack. *No, you cannot eat an entire box of Goldfish.*
Yes, they can start to do their own chores, like make their bed. *Sort of.*
Yes, they start school so you can have more time to get things done. *Why is there stuff everywhere? You've only been home for 10 minutes.*
All of these things are true.
In a sense, it does get easier.
And yet...I think it's more difficult.
It is more difficult because you are sending your kids into the world.
You hope that their teachers, educators and coaches will love them as much as you do.
You trust that your kids will be able to problem solve for themselves and make the right choices.
You send them out there to experience life without you.
But sometimes those life experiences can be difficult. They can be challenging. They can be painful.
When your child realizes that not all people are nice. That there really are jerks in the world.
When your child realizes that they have to push past the butterflies in their stomach and resolve their own conflict.
When your child realizes that not everyone wants to be their friend.
When your child realizes they are not the best at something they once thought to be true.
When your child struggles to understand something taught in class and they wonder if they can do it.
I believe that these days are the hardest, the most difficult, the most challenging - not just for the kids, but for parents too.
Because we parents know that our children have to experience these things. They have to learn what it is like to solve their own problems, to figure out what motivates them, to build their self-confidence and to figure out their place in the world.
This can be hard and painful. Because when I see my child hurting or struggling, I want to swoop in and fix it. My instinct it to try and make everything right.
But I know this is something they have to learn for themselves.
That is what children are called to do.
Learn and grow.
And the kids aren't the only ones growing.